Editor’s note: George Rowland of Fayetteville is the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette fish story champion for 2020. Here is Rowland’s winning story and the story by runner-up Andy Black of Fayetteville.
Over 20 years ago in spring, I took my trusty fly rod out of closet retirement and used it one more time in life. I’m now 82 years old with memories of that thought.
Rigged up a hair popping bug still on the line from the past, with artificial plastic frog’s legs with a sinker on the line. Took it to the 17th lake fairway at Paradise Valley golf course where I still live by the golf course.
I would sling my bait into the water and bump it slowly on the bottom. It awakened the young bass to a frenzy in a short time near dark. I caught seven bass about a foot long weighing about one pound each.
Put them in a bucket and walked up the hill in near dark and released them in the seventh small pond in front of the 7th par three green. I figured they would like all the small sun perch in the pond.
Therefore, five years later I asked a young man at the pro shop who fished if he had caught any of my bass. He said yes, two that weighed over 5 pounds and released them back into the pond.
Hopefully now there are some still left to watch the golf balls plopping daily into the water short of the green.
Great catfish escape
I had great anticipation as I set my 40-hook trotline in the White River where it flows into the Mississippi River. Monster flathead catfish live in these waters, and I was feeling lucky.
The next morning, I felt a mighty tug when I checked my line and pulled it up to see a huge flathead weighing maybe 40 pounds. But I had a problem. My net was nowhere to be found.
I motored back to camp to get my friend Ronny who boasted he’d pull it in with his bare hands. As we made our way up the river we planned our supper of fried catfish with fries and hush puppies.
When we got back to the trotline, Ronny reached down to grab the catfish but suddenly wasn’t so keen to reach his hand in that big mouth. With all the confusion the fish flopped and spun and off he went into the muddy waters.
So Ronny and I went back to camp and ate fried squirrel and the trophy 40-pound flathead was never mentioned again.